Top 10 Tuesday: Binge-Worthy TV Shows

It’s been a while since I last did a Top 10 Tuesday post so I thought it was about time I dive back in. This week’s topic is actually a non-bookish one for a change and relates to movies or TV. Like anyone, I love a good binge-worthy series – the ones that are so consuming you just have to watch the next episode, and the next, and the next, to find out what’ll happen. You know it’s good when you’ve watched so much that Netflix is checking whether it should play the next episode or not. TV tastes vary quite a lot so this is a hard list to create and still appeal to everyone. For that reason, here are ten shows that I, personally, binge-watched like a fiend (of which there are MANYYYYYY).

Stranger Things

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Gotta love a bit of 80s nostalgia. Stranger Things feels like if Spielberg and Stephen King had produced a TV baby. This is a binge watch for me every time I see it, especially since each season is only 8 episodes long. I love the characters (Dustin and STEVE!) and I’m a big fan of shows involving supernatural elements. For those few people who haven’t seen it, Stranger Things is set in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. After 12-year-old Will Buyers goes missing, Will’s friends and family launch an investigation which suggests the explanation may be otherworldly in nature.

TV 2

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There’s just something about twisted crime pieces that sucks me in. It’s a mood, okay? Don’t judge me. Mindhunter follows two FBI agents as they interview serial killers in an attempt to learn more about the way these individuals think in the hopes it will allow them to develop better profiling techniques. The acting is great and the show just has this gritty and dark atmosphere that’s so addicting. It’s also produced by director, David Fincher & actress, Charlize Theron. It’s not an action-packed kind of show but if you’re into slower, more subtle entertainment, it’s a solid pick.

TV 3

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I had to include at least one Marvel show on the list. I really loved Jessica Jones‘s first season but because I’m behind on season 2, I’ve gone with Daredevil. The action sequences are amazing, the characters are well done, and Charlie Cox is some serious eye candy. A blind superhero who’s not really blind is also a very cool concept. When the second season came out, only work was able to drag me away from my Netflix account.

TV 4

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This one is a major guilty pleasure binge. I’ll admit, I enjoy watching The Bachelor when it’s on (however, the Australian version is a little less insane than the US) and Unreal was created by a former producer on the US Bachelor & Bachelorette. The show is set behind the scenes of a very similar fictional tv series called Everlasting in which we witness the antics on set and the absolute crazy lengths creators will go to in order to keep making high rating TV. It’s got strong female leads and some of it is just hilarious (if a bit dark)

TV 5

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Yes, this is a controversial one but having seen the first season twice and the second season once, I’ve binge-watched each time. If you weren’t already aware (where have you been??), the premise of the show is that following the suicide of student Hannah Baker, 13 cassette tapes she made are sent around to a group of people whom Hannah claims to be the reasons behind her decision to take her own life. I powered through season one because I had to know why Clay, the show’s protagonist, was included on the tapes and even then, I needed to see how it’d end. It’s a tough show to watch at times and definitely DO NOT if you have experienced depression or suicidal thoughts before. Otherwise, it’s deeply emotional, well acted and has some nice underlying messages about how we treat others.

TV 6

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This show is so British, it hurts (in a good way, of course). It’s a very quirky, dark-comedy – a little bit Wes Craven, a tad Quentin Tarantino, and massively odd, but it’s also really funny and a hell of a ride. There’s only one season so far (greenlit for a second) and it’s 8 episodes long, perfect for binging. The show revolves around two teens –  angsty Alyssa, who wants to escape her home life, and James, who thinks himself a psychopath and is set on murdering Alyssa. The two decide to run away and end up on a road trip full of crazy stuff including a paedophile, exploding car, and petrol station attendant called Frodo. I wasn’t sure how I felt at the start but it really does grow on you in a way you don’t expect.

TV 7

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Another crime series. I don’t watch many mass season crime shows these days, with every episode a different case. However, I do enjoy limited episode series with confined season long investigations. And because of the need to find out who did it and how, I tend to binge them. Broadchurch is a great watch. David Tenant (LOVE) and Olivia Coleman are absolutely fantastic and each of the three seasons is well written and fabulously filmed. The first season deals with the murder of an eleven-year-old boy and showcases the investigation, the impact the death has on his family, and the various personalities of people living in the small coast-side town.

TV 8

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Oh, man. Now, this is guilty pleasure town. Netflix recently put a few older seasons of this up and I’m addicted. I will honestly sit for hours and just watch episode after episode of people frantically sewing clothes into the late hours of the morning and bitching about each other behind their backs. Reality tv at it’s most mind-numbingly enjoyable.

TV 9

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BtVS is one of my favourite tv series of all time. Easy. I could watch this thing through 1000 times and still not be sick of it. Yes, it can be a little campy and the special effects are definitely on the dated side, but it’s such a great show and one of Joss Whedon’s best productions. The characters are wonderful and the show itself perfectly straddles action, horror and comedy with some romance thrown in. Watching Buffy and friends kick ass and save the world from vampires, demons and everything else creepy-crawly is one of the best ways to spend a night in.

TV 10

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While the revival is certainly questionable, the first five or so seasons of Gilmore Girls are one of my favourite things to binge. Every time I watch, I feel like I’m teen again, watching with my mum. It’s such a comforting, heartwarming and fun show that never ceases to make me smile. Watching mother and daughter, Lorelai and Rory go about their lives and witnessing the crazy hijinks of the tiny town they live in is definitely my idea of bingeable entertainment. It’s also funny and ridiculously quotable. Oy, with the poodles already!

What are your favourite TV shows to binge watch?

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And That’s a Wrap: August Edition

August comes to a close. Hello, September. It feels like every time I sit down at my computer it’s time to write another wrap-up. This was a good month in terms of the number of books I got read vs books I piled onto my TBR but not so great posting wise.

Books I Read

Some of you may have seen my post at the beginning of the month regarding my plans to undertake the NEWTs magical readathon hosted by booktuber, G @ Bookroast in August. I am very happy to say that I passed the readathon with flying colours and finished off the month with a total of 10 books! Overall I attained 4 NEWTs and my “grades” were:

  • Arithmancy – Outstanding
  • Transfiguration – Outstanding
  • Charms – Outstanding
  • Defence Against the Dark Arts – Acceptable

I largely stuck to my set out TBR (go me!) except for one exchange which was Sharp Objects for The Upside of Unrequited. Here’s what I read:

August Reads

P.S. I Still Love You – Jenny Han ★★★★

After the ending of the first book, I was so glad to finally get the cute Lara Jean and Peter reconciliation I wanted. That is until they split up again. Pffftttt. Still, I enjoyed this one. The series is fluffy and sweet in typical YA contemporary fashion, and I love the characters. John Ambrose was a really nice addition and I think this is another love triangle where I actually wouldn’t have minded either candidate. Who knows, later in life John and LJ may end up together. I do wish that there had been a better resolution to the game of tag and some sort of catharsis regarding LJ and Gen’s divide though.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean – Jenny Han ★★★.5

So the plot in this one is pretty minimal – it’s all ‘which college should I go to’, can our relationship survive, wah, wah, wah. But eh, I had a pretty good time anyway. Peter was a bit of a pain at times which made me a little cranky. Me: Come on, boy, you love the girl so don’t hold her back!  Then there was a moment toward the end when I was like: you two better not break up. I did not sit through three books for you to crush all my hopes and dreams. Luckily, all ended up well and the last iteration of the relationship contract was super adorable. Major awwwwws were made.

A Promise of Fire – Amanda Bouchet ★★★.5

I went into this one thinking it’d be more fantasy-fantasy than romance-fantasy so I was a little surprised. I ended up kind of guilty pleasure enjoying it though, even though it has a few problems. I mean, the story starts because the male lead kidnaps the MC and forces her to stay with him so they can use her magic = bit of a dodgy foundation for a r/shp. Still, the world building is okay, the side characters are good, the MC is kick-ass and the romance is steamy enough. Hopefully in book two there’ll be some more non-romance plotlines, the MC will stop ending up in life-threatening injury situations all the time, and she’ll finally tell everyone her damn secrets.

The Cheerleaders – Kara Thomas ★★.5 | Review

I was a bit disappointed with this one but I have a feeling I went in with too higher expectations for some reason. I was really hoping for an intense and twisty mystery but most of it fell flat for me. I didn’t really like how the mystery was resolved, especially since we’d been led to think it might have been bigger in scale than it was. Also, a lot of the characters felt quite underdeveloped. I did enjoy the friendship between the MC, Monia, and her classmate, Ginny though.

Circe – Madeline Miller ★★★★

Miller’s writing continues to be fantastic. At times, Circe almost feels like a collection of short stories with linking material to fill in the gaps. Some “stories” I found more interesting than others. There were times when I was really, really engaged and others when, weirdly, I was almost bored. I found this book really sad a lot of time, poor Circe had a bit of a rough life, so I was glad it ended on a more positive note. The characters were very strong and Miller did a great job of weaving together the mythology.

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas ★★★★★

Fantastic. The writing, characters, themes – everything was A+.

Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn ★★★

After getting stuck into the HBO series, I couldn’t resist giving the book a go too. Just like Flynn’s other novels, this one’s far from happy. Every character has secrets and a dark side. Although it’s technically a mystery, the focus is more on the people than the murders. I liked it but I feel as though I would have enjoyed it more had I not accidentally found out who the killer was prior to the end. Still, both of the twists were good and Camille was a complex and sympathetic protagonist.

Soulless – Gail Carriger ★★★.5

For the first part of this book I was very unengaged and almost just going through the motions BUT after the first hundred pages I actually ended up having a fairly good time. It’s no masterpiece but it’s a fun urban fantasy with a spunky heroine. The romantic element is a bit out there but still pretty amusing. The writing is very tongue in cheek most of the time and I may read the sequel if I’m in the mood for something light, sexy and involving werewolves & vampires.

The Plastic Magician – Charlie N. Holmberg ★★.5 | Review

This was a very light and simple book. It’s almost like watching a Disney movie in written form – the good guys are oh, so good and the bad guy is basically a moustache-twirling villain. The plot is very straightforward – point A to point B and the romance is kind of sweet but forgettable. Overall, it’s an okay book, I was just a little bored. There’s nothing unexpected or bold, it is what it is.

Ash Princess – Laura Sebastian ★★★★

I knew to keep my expectations in check with this one, it’s nothing original, and surprisingly, I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would! I didn’t mind Theo as a protagonist – yes, she has a lot of back and forth and emotional turmoil but it’s pretty fair under the circumstances. I’m looking forward to seeing her come into her true badassery. The magic system was pretty interesting as well so I’d like to find out more in later books. I think there’s some decent potential here and I’ll probably continue with the series.

Books I Bought

After last month’s debacle in purchasing willpower, I only ended up with 6 new books on my shelves this month and two of them I read shortly after buying. At this point, I’m pretty proud of myself and I’m sure my bank account is thanking me, too.

August Buys

Blog Posts

It was a bit of a weak month for me posting wise. I have a feeling I’ll be in a need of a break from blogging and bookstagram soon but we’ll see. Other than the two reviews linked above, here are my posts from August:

Book Tags

The Greek Mythology Book Tag

Page to Screen

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Let’s Talk

What Makes a Great Book Cover

Miscellaneous

New Additions to My Goodreads To-Read Shelf 3#

WWW Wednesday | 29.08.18

Personal

Music

Palo SantoI love popping on a bit of music while I blog and this month I’ve had two albums on repeat – Palo Santo by Years & Years and the new Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again Soundtrack. I’m really loving this direction for Years & Years – it’s darker and more intense, with some great beats. The Mamma Mia soundtrack is just a nice, happy album to put on. You can never go wrong with a bit of ABBA, really.

TV

Image result for sharp objects hboI haven’t watched a lot of TV this month. For some reason, I’ve been gravitating towards movies a bit more. No clue why. However, I did get massively into the new HBO adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. It’s a super slow burn kind of mystery and most of the characters are demented in some way, but I’ve enjoyed it. Amy Adams is a fantastic actress and I loved seeing her on the small screen. Also, the music choices in this series are amazing!

Related imageI’ve also finally gotten back into Poldark. My sister and I watched the second half of season 3 and have now gotten stuck into season 4 after picking up the DVDs over the weekend. I’d forgotten how much I love this show. The scenery is stunning and even though the plot can be a bit melodramatic, I’m still so here for it. Having Aidan as eye candy isn’t bad either…

Life

Not much to report here, as usual. Work has started to pick up a little, but not as much as I’d like. I’ve been continuing to take driving lessons every week in the hope that I’ll eventually get my licence (it’s only been like NINE years).

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And…that’s a wrap!

How was your August? What was your favourite read?

Top 10 Tuesday: Best Book to Movie/TV Adaptations, Part 2

I wasn’t really in the mood to do this week’s TTT post because (a) it’s winter here, (b) then I have to ask, what the hell is a “winter read”, and (c) I’m likely to do a TBR post soon. Instead I’m doing an older topic from The Broke and the Bookish‘s archives which is top ten best/worst book adaptations. The criteria for making this type of list is always hard because is it a matter of how closely the adaptation followed the source material or is it about the quality of the actual adaptation? In my case, it’s usually a bit of both. I’m cool with the adaptation making changes to the book’s story as long as they’re good changes and don’t mess with my enjoyment of the movie/show. I actually did this same topic for a top ten last year but since then I’ve seen a few other adaptations that I’ve thought were pretty good. Then there were others that missed out on my original list. Besides, no-one’s ever said you can’t do the same topic twice. And well, if they have…er, my blog, my rules, I guess.Divider1

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Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

This is a dark and slightly odd book with a significant shift right in the middle. The movie does a great job of matching it’s eerie tone and remains very close to the book’s plot. Rosamund Pike is perfect as deranged “cool girl” Amy, while Ben Affleck also does a great job as her imperfect husband, Nick. The only thing I wish it’d done was include the couple’s final lines of dialogue.


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Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

Controversy aside, in my opinion TRW is a good adaptation of Jay Asher’s book and in a lot of ways, I think it even surpasses it. Often where adaptations deviate from their source material, it’s a bad thing but with this one it works well. The decision to spread Clay’s experience with the tapes over several days instead of one night and actually taking the time to flesh out each of the characters involved enhances the story and ideas of the novel rather than damages them.


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Call Me By Your Name

Call Me by your Name – Andre Aciman

This is a beautifully written book, and although it’s difficult to transfer prose and imagery over to film easily, this adaptation manages to capture the tone of the novel instead through scenery, music, camera angles, and expressions. The set locations are stunning and the casting is absolutely perfect. Also, while the ending is a little different from the novel (which is sort of an extension on the film), it’s still fits the spirit of the story whilst still being damn heartbreaking.


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Love, Simon (Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda) – Becky Albertalli

I had high expectations for this one and to my relief, it met them. This is another adaptation where there were a few changes made to the plot, mostly in terms of cuts (likely for time reasons). However, the movie never strays from the feeling of the book and is always true to the characters. It’s super adorable, majorly feel-good, diverse, and an easy movie to re-watch.


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The Martian – Andy Weir

The success of The Martian as a book rests heavily on the humour, sass and strength of it’s main character, Mark, and this translated extremely successfully over to the adaptation. Matt Damon is fantastic in the role, as is the rest of the cast of famous faces. The movie’s funny, visually striking, and also manages to get a bit less bogged down in some of the scientific elements than the book, which is a big plus.


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The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

I had heard that this particular series was quite different from the book but after recently, finally, watching it, I found it to actually be quite similar. Yes, some of the ages are different and you get a lot more background with regards to the characters and how Gilead came about, but for me these additions have enhanced the story and answered a lot of questions that I know I had while reading the book. The acting is great all around and the show itself is extremely addictive, even if it’s sometimes hard to watch.


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It – Stephen King

I don’t usually do horror movies, at all. I am the biggest wuss you will ever meet but I was determined to see the 2017 movie adaptation of this book and despite looking through my fingers at several points, I really, really enjoyed it. The child actors are all great in their roles and Pennywise is damn scary. Although the movie only focuses on the child part of the book, it’s still a HUGE book and they did a great job cutting down the story while still keeping the important parts intact. Definitely looking forward to part 2 next year.


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And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie

There have been a lot of adaptations of this particular story, because it’s just so good! In this instance though I’m referencing the 2015 BBC mini-series. This version dwells on the darker undertones in Christie’s story, making it a little bit more modern somehow but it still remains both stylish and true to the novel, right to the very, bitter end. Also, it doesn’t hurt that there’s some eye candy in the form of Mr Aidan Turner.


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Divergent

Divergent – Veronica Roth

Say what you will about the later entries in the series, both films and books (*cough* they sucked *cough), but I really like the adaptation of the first book (Yep, judge away, I know). I’ll admit, they did cut out and strip down some characters (e.g. Edward), and rework certain plot elements but I liked the casting and the story changes never really impaired my enjoyment of the movie. Now I just happily watch it as a stand-alone.


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The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Alright, I’m not a huge John Green fan but having read the book and seen the movie for this particular one, even I have to say that it’s a well done adaptation that should have satisfied fans of the book. The actors are chosen well  (Shailene does a great job as Hazel), the plot sticks closely to the book, the tone of the movie is very JG-esque, and the ending is still grab your tissues worthy (okay, well, for those people that aren’t me).


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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

Two adaptations were made of this novel, one English speaking and the other in Swedish and surprisingly, both of them are not only very close to the book but well done too. The actors in each version do a great job bringing the characters to life, especially Rooney Mara and Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth, and the plot is mysterious and engaging. Be warned though, this isn’t a lighthearted book and neither movie shies away from the darker content.

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And there we have it, another top ten done and dusted. Was there a favourite of yours that I missed? It might have been on my first list on this topic published last year. You can find that Top 10 here.

What are some recent adaptations that you’ve enjoyed?

Love Ashley